Conservation Law Enforcement Corner – June 2016

GON Staff | June 13, 2016

The Hall of Shame column is designed to highlight the efforts of Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Division (LED) officers who, among their many duties, protect Georgia’s wildlife, sportsmen and natural resources from game-law violators.

Laurens County: On June 16, 2015, Cpl. Dan Stiles was contacted by the Area Manager of Hugh M. Gillis Public Fishing Area (PFA), Jimmy Miller, who said that he and Fisheries Technician Jody Swearingen were in a boat on the main lake at the PFA when they noticed an item on the dam. Upon investigation, they discovered a Savage Model 25 .17 caliber bolt-action rifle with a Burris telescopic sight laying on the ground with a live round of ammunition in the chamber and the safety in the off position.

Later in the morning, Miller and Swearingen witnessed someone walking on the dam, and when they approached, the person ran into the woods and hid. It was Tuesday, and the PFA was closed.

Laurens County Sheriff’s Deputy Mickey Malone arrived on scene and took possession of the firearm. He patrolled the area and made a traffic stop on a vehicle that was seen twice near the PFA. The driver of the vehicle said that her husband was at the PFA looking for a rifle that allegedly his friend had taken from him and left at the PFA.

Officer Malone told the woman that the rifle would be at the Sheriff’s Office until her husband arrived to claim it. The Sheriff’s Office completed an ATF Firearms Trace on the rifle and found the gun was purchased by the husband without any issues.

Cpl. Stiles contacted the man on two occasions leaving a voice-mail message stating for him to call if he wanted his firearm returned. No response was received by Cpl. Stiles regarding the firearm. On June 29, Cpl. Stiles requested a Criminal History, and the report did not reveal any felony convictions for the man.

On July 24, Cpl. Stiles went to the East Dublin residence listed for the man, identified as James Henderson. According the incident report, the suspect was evasive at first, but finally stated that he had been dropped off at the PFA on June 16 to fish for catfish, and that he had brought the rifle along in case he encountered a snake. When asked why he hadn’t contacted Cpl. Stiles or the Sheriff’s office to retrieve his firearm, he said his wife had said a deputy mentioned that the firearm had what looked like a suppressor.

He was fearful of being charged for a federal violation. Cpl. Stiles informed the man that he had inspected the firearm, and it did not have a suppressor on it. Tape wrapped around the barrel did not extend past the end of the barrel and did not constitute a suppressor.

Cpl. Stiles told him that he was going to discuss the case and charges with the Area Manager.

On July 27, Cpl. Stiles met with  Henderson at his residence and issued him a citation for Illegal Possession of a Firearm on a PFA and another citation for Violation of Board Regulation on a PFA. The gun was returned after the case was disposed of with $40 fines for each charge.


LED Ranger Run Honors Fallen

On May 4, 2016, eight Rangers from LED ran in the first ever Ranger Memorial Run, an 8K run through the streets of Forsyth to honor the eight DNR Rangers on the Georgia Public Safety Memorial Wall, located at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center.

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